Let’s Make Life a Little Easier for DV Victims – But, You Have to Move Quickly

sealwebThis morning when I woke up, I saw this note from the new Clerk of Court, Grant Maloy, asking for support for his improvements at the Clerk’s office.  In addition to various improvements needed in the office, he mentioned he’d also like to provide better service to Domestic Violence victims.

Now, unless you work in the field, you probably don’t know a woman can file an injunction (aka restraining order) outside of the criminal justice system  –– right at her local Clerk of Court’s office.  This relieves a little of the fear and trauma associated with taking that brave step. It’s still an unsettling and upsetting ordeal, nonetheless.

I applaud the new Clerk of Court for recognizing the sensitivity and care involved in serving domestic violence victims.  Please read the dialog below:

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It’s short notice (the Commissioners meet this morning at 9am), but if my friends in Seminole County would simply cut and paste this email, and send a note to the County Commissioners who are meeting this morning, maybe we can provide these funds and services to assist victims and those who serve them valiantly every day.

Suggested email, feel free to personalize:

Subject: Clerk of Court requested assists for Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic Violence victims take a courageous step when they file for an injunction.  I applaud Grant Maloy’s efforts to provide space at the office of the Clerk of Court to facilitate a smoother and less traumatic, dehumanizing experience. Public Service shines when we take care of our most vulnerable citizens. This one is a no-brainer. I urge you to consider his recommended suggestions to increase space and bring some dignity to this oftentimes harrowing and emotional act for self-protection.

Thank you,
YOUR NAME

County Commissioners‘ email addresses:

Lee Constantine: lconstantine@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Bob Dallari: kedenfield@seminolecountyfl.gov

For John Horan: jspry02@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Brenda Carey: stucker@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Carlton Henley: gvenn@seminolecountyfl.gov

 

 

 

The Other

stockton '77

Stockton State College, 1977

Today, I remembered what it felt like to be an “other.”

In 1977, I was awarded a full scholarship to attend college because I qualified as an “economically disadvantaged” student. It was a special program in New Jersey that still exists today called, “The Educational Outcome Fund (EOF).”

There was a catch though.

You had to be willing to be treated like a second-class citizen.

Each school had the freedom to run its EOF program however the administration felt it would yield the best results.  At Stockton, where I was admitted, we had to attend a special pre-admission summer session to assess whether we were “fit” for college. After all, the students in the program were all, you know, low-income.

We had to check into the dorms immediately after we graduated high school. Every morning at 6 a.m., we had to get up, boot camp style, and run a mile around the lake on the school’s campus. It was mandatory.

Next, it was a mad dash from the breakfast hall to all-day classes in remedial English and sMath, breaking only for a quick lunch.  There were grad school tutors who could smartsplain anything our low-achieving, yet promising, young minds couldn’t absorb. After classes, it was dinner, homework, and lights out. The program was regimented from morning to night.  If you didn’t conform, you forfeited your scholarship.

Naturally, as a somewhat oppressed club, we banded together and became known as a group of “the other” around campus.

There were always looks and sneers from the other summer students, as the group noticeably stuck out as mixed race, on a predominantly white suburban campus. We were branded “EOF students” and all of us knew what that meant.  Lesser than. Special, but not in a good way.  In a demeaning way.

I hated that feeling. I couldn’t wait to get on with my education, rise above my station in life, and shed my “other” skin in the dustbin of the Pine Barrens.

Today I was reminded of how it felt.  And it had to do with something as innocuous as Uber, the car-sharing service.  I’ll explain that in another post.  But, what I learned from this uncomfortable experience today is how effortlessly, because of the color of my skin, I was afforded easy social mobility once I got into the workforce.

I have no idea how many of my friends in that summer EOF program ever did finish college (I didn’t), or where they are today.  But, I am sure that the POC had a harder time than I did. That, regardless of their stature, education, accomplishments, and strong families, they’ve been “the other” all their lives with no escape. It’s shameful I’m just seeing them now in my rearview mirror, today in 2016.

And it’s simply because someone made me feel bad about myself today.

Black lives matter.  I’m getting it.  Really getting it.

 

Man Up

I wish I had more time to devote to this post, but we’re in a 24-hour news cycle, and the Cleveland kidnapping story will soon vanish from our short-term memory.  For those of us who’ve lived through and narrowly escaped domestic violence, this incident is (yet again) a long-term memory reminder.

“So, you know, I figured it was a domestic-violence dispute.”  What Charles Ramsey did – and I hope to God he is immortalized for it – is called “Bystander Intervention.”  As Amy Davidson writes in the New Yorker, “For Berry and the others to be rescued, in other words, two things had to happen: she had to never forget who she was, and that who she was mattered; and Ramsey needed to not care who she might be at all—to think that all that mattered was that a woman was trapped behind a door that wouldn’t open, and to walk onto the porch.”

Please take the 20 minutes to watch this TED video of Jackson Katz who asks a very simple question, “Why is violence against women a women’s issue?

 

Update: So, of course we now find out Ramsey has a domestic violence background of his own.

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